Rule-based, peaceful environment in IOR key to global prosperity: Rajnath

DEFENCE MINISTER Rajnath Singh on Monday stressed on the need to maintain maritime preparedness in the constantly-changing global scenario as well as create a rule-based, peaceful environment in the Indian Ocean Region which is essential for regional and global prosperity.

Addressing the three-day 39th Annual Commanders’ Conference of the Indian Coast Guard here on its first day, Singh said that there has been a shift in India’s maritime security needs due to the ever-evolving global situation.

Speaking about the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific, Singh termed the region as an important aspect of India’s maritime security. “The growing regional and global trade in this region has brought forth new challenges. Geopolitical tensions and clash of strategic interests have led to traditional security challenges. Terrorism, drug trafficking and piracy are some non-traditional challenges in front of us today. Being a responsible maritime power, we have a clear interest to create a rule-based, peaceful and stable environment. Such a rule-based environment is essential for both regional and global prosperity. In such a situation, the ICG has a big role to play.”

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Singh stated that India’s geographical location in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) is crucial from the strategic and economic point of view. “Our long coastline with deep-water ports, a prosperous Exclusive Economic Zone and islands at both ends present a unique position…The safety of these sea routes is not only directly connected to our economic interests, but it also establishes India as a Net Security Provider in IOR,” he said.

The Coast Guard’s role, he said, is not only limited to coastal areas, and called it the protector of India’s national interests and sovereign rights in the territorial seas and Exclusive Economic Zone.

“There have been no reports of any breach in coastal security in the last 14 years due to the ICG’s dynamic strategy and its cooperation with the Indian Navy and local administration,” he said.

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